Ask a Mexican

Is Garfield offensive to Mexicans?

Dear Mexican: In "Garfield" strips in the funny pages that appeared earlier this year, Garfield is wearing a sombrero and taking siestas. While cute and all, isn't that the sort of thing that we have been striving to stop? What was Jim Davis thinking? Maybe he needs a refresher course in not making pendejadas.

Odio Odie

Dear Wab: "Garfield" is still around? Haven't editors finally exiled it to the viejitos comic-strip page alongside "Gasoline Alley" and "Mary Worth"? Or is it stuck among ghoulish strips that'll never die, like "Peanuts" and "The Family Circus"? I hadn't read "Garfield" in years until your prompt, and I gotta admit: I laughed at the sombrero. Cheap, unfulfilling laughs like only the fat cat can provide, but risas. Garfield puts salsa on the sombrero's brim? ¡Jajaja! Garfield gives a mouse a sombrero because he makes cheese quesadillas? Hee-hee! And Garfield, if I remember correctly, does nothing but eat and sleep, so to accuse him of taking siestas for anti-Mexican purposes no es bueno. Us Mexicans need to make peace with the sombrero, need to realize that, outside the cornette associated with the Daughters of Charity and the Green Bay Packer cheesehead, it's the funniest hat around, and that its use by gabachos doesn't always signify Mexican-bashing (combine it with a mustache, and you have a diferente story...). Eternal vigilance is the price of a conscious Mexican in this country, Odie Hater, but don't make Davis out to be another Joe Wilson. Oh, and a final piece of advice? For your comic-strip needs, the Mexican recommends to his gentle readers "La Cucaracha" and "9 Chickweed Lane."

Dear Mexican: My great-great-grand-uncle was Colonel William Barrett Travis, who commanded the defense of American settlers at the Alamo and was one of the first casualties. I've been told by a Mexican friend of mine that I should be ashamed of this, but all my life I've been proud of it. What do you think?

Descendant of a 1635 Immigrant

Dear Gabacho: What do I know? I'm just an unassimilated Mexican who still doesn't get why millions of Americans continue to celebrate their traitorous Confederate ancestors. Similarly, I don't understand why you'd be proud of a slave owner in your family tree — you don't see many Mexicans boasting of the conquistador blood in their raíces, after all. And that whole Alamo deal? I don't get it. Maybe it's just a Texas thing, but what was that whole cosa about? Gabachos who came to Texas at the invitation of the Mexican government promising to become Mexicans, then reneged on their vow and were surprised when their rulers tried to crush the resulting secession movement? Sure, General Santa Anna was a tyrannical pendejo, and there's always something to admire about last stands (see the Battle of Puebla), but the Texas War for Independence was the opening volley in Manifest Destiny. Why, this whole Alamo episode and its resulting discontents sound just like the 1830s version of the present-day Mexican invasion to me!

Congrats to: Astronauts Danny Olivas and José Hernández, for recently eating burritos in space, and especially to Hernández, who spoke out in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. From the deserts of Sonora to the Bering Sea, and now to outer space, the Reconquista not only is real, it's cosmic. To quote that other famous illegal alien, the Borg: Resistance is futile, Know Nothings!